By Duncan and Sally Wood
As the name suggests, South Shore Special Place (SSSP) is located at the south end of Eastman Lake. It includes 38 condos and one single-family home. The condos, which comprise three separate associations, stretch from Pioneer Point to the edge of the 15th fairway on Eastman Golf Links; the one house is adjacent to the lake’s emergency spillway off Road Round the Lake (RRL). A mix of full-time residents, weekenders, “snowbirds,” and renters occupy these homes.
Four of the condos at Pioneer Point were created in the original Eastman Community Association’s (ECA) developer’s marketing office constructed in 1976. Each of those condos has a unique layout. The single-family home had originally been the demonstration house for Yankee Barn Homes, a construction company in Grantham, so quite a number of Eastman residents passed through it when considering the construction of their own Yankee Barn homes. There is a building marked as a “Visitor’s Center,” which is really a real estate office, that is located within the Special Place. It shares the driveway and parking area of the 15 condos and house in Pioneer Point and when the office is closed, residents there often find themselves providing directions to lost visitors.
Each area of the Special Place has something to observe out of its windows. Residents of the condos on Niblick Lane get to watch the golfers attempt to land their tee shots on the 15th Green. Occupants of the condos on Lakeview Place and half of those on Pioneer Point get to watch the never-ending activity at the public boat ramp with its official dog swimming area. Others at Pioneer Point are yearround observers of the South Cove harbor and children’s beach. One resident even expresses a degree of unofficial “lifeguarding” responsibility as she watches the babies on the beach and various boaters heading out into the waves on a windy day.
Margery Bostrom, who purchased her condo in 1992, has the distinction of being the longest full-time resident of South Shore Special Place. When Margery was asked what makes this Special Place “special,“ her response was that even though it is one of the smallest Special Places in terms of the number of owners, it has always been the home of residents who have been very active in the governance of Eastman, the former Eastman Sewer Company, and the Village District of Eastman. At age 90+, Margery, herself, recently served on the ECA’s Joint Governance Task Force. She also noted that the regular quarterly meetings of the Special Place have included formal business plus a lot of friendly conversations for many years. When she was asked what has changed the most in her 24 years at Pioneer Point, she replied that the density of the trees and shrubs along the shore has greatly increased and reduced the view she once had. She also recalled a trail along the edge of the lake from the Point to South Cove that has now been lost to shrubbery.
A special advantage of living in SSSP is the ability to easily walk to the South Cove Activity Center (SCAC), the beach, and Peppermint Patty’s. However, resident Duncan Wood points out that crossing the spillway to get to the gym or pool at SCAC on a cold, windy morning in January can be a real challenge.
Dave and Carol Miller are the owners of the house and land that is the dam’s emergency spillway. For many years, they have permitted the Eastman Community Association’s (ECA) Recreation Department to use the spillway as the transition area for the Splash, Mash & Dash Triathlon held annually in June. In 2015, the Millers voluntarily placed an easement on their land that ensures that the ECA can use that area for activities after they leave Eastman.
Various people have asked why there are “unfriendly” signs on the fire lane around Pioneer Point that indicate it is private property. The answer stems from the sequential development of Eastman. In general, as subdivisions of the land were created, open space grants were included on the deeds of each of the lots along the lakeshore. For whatever reason, now lost in the mist of history, the developer did not include such a grant when the South Shore II Condominium property was created. Several years ago, the association’s attorney advised that a sign indicating “private property” would provide some degree of legal liability defense if someone injured him or herself while crossing Pioneer Point. However, the condo association does not stop people from crossing the Point and formally grants permission each year to the ECA for its use during the triathlon and summer camps.
Although our Special Place is adjacent to and extends across Road Round the Lake, we do have a variety of wildlife visitors. In the Niblick Lane area south of RRL, deer and fox are often seen crossing the road. At Lakeview Place, loons, heron and ducks can be seen in addition to the many dogs chasing tennis balls and Frisbees off the boat ramp. A few years ago, a moose was seen running along the fire lane in front of the Pioneer Point condos, and a bald eagle was seen circling above the parking lot. SSSP may not be in the deep woods like many other Special Places, but it still has these visitors as well as a lot of small bird activity.
So the next time you drive across the bridge near the dam, remember that you are in the midst of the South Shore Special Place.